Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Monday, May 25, 2015

We Honor and Remember


We wanted to take this opportunity to honor and remember the many men and women who have sacrificed so much, even their lives, to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. We know that this freedom is not free, that its price has been paid by those who gave their all. Today, we want you to know how much we appreciate all the sacrifices made by our men and women who have valiantly served this great nation as well as those who are still serving and to say a heartfelt “Thank you!”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Submit Your Ideas to Improve Life as a Disabled Veteran

Have any ideas for inventions that would improve your life as a disabled veteran?

The VA launched its 2015 VA Innovation Creation Series for Prosthetics and Assistive Technology last week. The Innovation Creation Series is open to anyone—from engineers and designers to problem solvers and creative thinkers—who would like to help the VA find ways to assist disabled veterans in dealing with everyday challenges.

The VA has five specific issues they are trying to solve in this year’s Series, including creating a pill box that can dispense medicine up to 8x/day with an alarm system to notify the veteran when to take the meds, and creating a device to help a veteran with tremors perform fine motor tasks. The full list of challenges can be found on their website: www.innovation.va.gov/challenge.

All ideas should be submitted by the end of June. There will be a 2-day Make-a-thon event at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA, July 28-29. During this event, some of the submitted designs will be built and tested to demonstrate how they could help meet the needs of disabled veterans.

We believe that the best ideas will come from those who have to deal with these issues every day: you guys. We also know that many of you are exceptionally smart, talented, and creative, so put your thinking caps on and have fun! For more information on how to participate, including online training videos on design and prototyping, go to www.innovation.va.gov/challenge.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The VA and Women Veterans – What’s Trending?

The physical and mental health issues unique to women veterans have been getting a lot of attention in recent months. Approximately 9.2% (about 2 million) of the total living veteran population is women veterans, and that number is expected to grow to 16% by 2040.

The VA announced on April 2, 2015 that it has appointed 4 new members to their VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, a panel of experts that advises the VA on issues affecting women veterans. The Committee makes recommendations to the VA about changes, both legislative and administrative, that need to be made and assists the VA in identifying gaps in services for women veterans and addressing those issues. Three of the four new committee members are women veterans themselves, and the fourth is full-time National Guard.

On April 15, we posted on our blog the comments we submitted on your behalf to the VA in response to the VA’s proposed changes to the ratings for the Female Reproductive System. Your responses addressed valid issues and concerns, and we are hoping to get positive change from the VA.

In March 2015, Representative Corrine Brown introduced a bill to make the pilot program on counseling in retreat settings for women veterans newly separated from active duty permanent. This program is currently only authorized through 2015.

In addition, Rep. Brown introduced a bill on April 28, 2015 to require the VA to provide continuous access to gender-specific medical care at every VA medical facility. Gender-specific medical care includes things like breast care, prenatal and obstetric care, preventive screenings such as mammograms and pap smears, gynecological care, neonatal care, and infertility services. Under the provisions of this bill, these services would be provided in-house instead of being farmed out to private providers. Funding and authorization for the additional staff, equipment, and supplies needed to provide these services is included in this bill.

Both of these bills are currently before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. We will keep our eye on them and let you know their progress. To obtain more information about VA programs and services for women veterans, go to www.va.gov/womenveterans or contact the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-829-6636.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

VA Working to End Veteran Homelessness by 2016

In the last two months, the VA has made two significant announcements about its efforts to end veteran homelessness. The VA’s goal is to end homelessness among veterans by the end of the year.

On March 31, 2015, the VA announced that it was awarding almost $93 million in grants under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. These 3-year grants will help approximately 45,000 homeless or at-risk veterans and their families. The grants will be awarded to private non-profit organizations and other agencies that will then provide support services to very low-income veterans and their families who are trying to transition to or remain in permanent housing. These organizations also provide eligible veterans and their families with assistance in case management, help in obtaining VA benefits, access to health care services, transportation, housing counseling, child care, legal services, and more.

On April 20, 2015, the VA and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced nearly $65 million in rental assistance funds to be provided through the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. HUD-VASH combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Under this program, VA medical centers assess veterans who are homeless and then refer them to local housing agencies where they may obtain vouchers for rental assistance. Eligibility is based on several factors, the most important of which is the length of time a veteran has been homeless.

Sadly, we know that a large percentage of homeless veterans are also disabled veterans. A count conducted on a single night in January 2014 showed that 49,933 veterans were homeless that night. That number represents a 33% drop since 2010. Figures from fiscal year 2012 show that 51% of homeless veterans were disabled, compared to 26.9% of all veterans.

If you or someone you know is homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, there are now several ways to get help. You may contact the Homeless Coordinator at your local VA facility or call 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). In addition, you can go to www.va.gov/homeless or www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp for more information and assistance.


We applaud the VA for their goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Achieving this ambitious goal will take a determined effort on the part of all involved. Veterans, if you need help, we urge you to be proactive and let people know. Help is out there—just ask.